Acoustic Guitar Recording 101

ecc83

Well-known member
My lad sent the attached over yesterday from France.

Using an SM57 and an 58 he is not sure is genuine! Soundcraft 8fx USB mixer.

He says "please excuse the fluffs".

Dave.
 

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  • classical gtr baleqd01.mp3
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keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
My lad sent the attached over yesterday from France.

Using an SM57 and an 58 he is not sure is genuine! Soundcraft 8fx USB mixer.

He says "please excuse the fluffs".

Dave.
Darn nice playing! Once again, proving that the recording's success or failure is 80%, or likely more, all about the performance.
 
Woah, great explanation (guide)

Do you have any ideas on how to stop an annoying piercing high string? I am trying to record an arpeggio but everytime I hit the high string it dominates and hurts my ears. I have tried using different thickness picks, recutting my nail, picking as soft as I can but feels very awkward to play when I try to compensate like this. And with the mics, I've tried spaced A-B, X-Y, a mono mic, just recording from like 6ft back, and even further. An over the shoulder approach. I'm getting sick of trying. . .
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
Woah, great explanation (guide)

Do you have any ideas on how to stop an annoying piercing high string? I am trying to record an arpeggio but everytime I hit the high string it dominates and hurts my ears. I have tried using different thickness picks, recutting my nail, picking as soft as I can but feels very awkward to play when I try to compensate like this. And with the mics, I've tried spaced A-B, X-Y, a mono mic, just recording from like 6ft back, and even further. An over the shoulder approach. I'm getting sick of trying. . .
Offhand, it's likely equipment or technique. It seems like you've worked to rule out the mic(s) in your setup.

Have you recorded a different guitar to determine if it's the guitar setup/strings that are contributing to this? It may feel awkward because you've got to change your technique, but that's something a teacher might be able to diagnose. (This kind of problem might be easier to discuss if you could attach a recording.)
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Have you tried different strings? What guitar, what strings, what gauge are you using? Possibly going to a thinner string woudl work (or a thicker one).
 
Not tried different strings, I havent got much clue on what to buy yet. I will be passing the store tomorrow and will pop in to try another set out.

Now.... I wanted to record a nice ambient guitar and I am hitting some arpeggios but whenever I hit high e string, it's verrry painful especially on the mic.
I was really hoping to be able to cover this

http:// soundcloud.com/jamezmusic-1/ambient-guitar-reference/s-RFblr

I am just about ready to throw the towel in for now though, i wasted 2 days trying to sort out that horrible high e string, playing as softly as I can, re-cutting my nail, multiple mic combinations, some processing in daw. no such luck.

I didn't manage to get a recording of the ambient guitar attempt (link above) but today I re-did a recording of something I did in the past (that actually sounded good) ( same guitar )... only this time.... same twangy high string again. Please excuse the choice of song. it's just a silent hill rhythm part but it's easy to play and easy to problem solve. Anyways, here it is.

https:// soundcloud.com/jamezmusic-1/tiiing-tiiiing/s-OVQbJ

I will be able to get a recording of the ultra twangy arpeggio part for the ambient song in the first link tomorrow. which sounds far worse because I am hitting the high E string every third note so it's just ultra painful all the way through. . .

Really getting peed off with this. hopefully I don't have to spend a stupid amount of money again on more studio equipment, in this case guitar, or treatment... i dunno.

Cheers!

Edit: having lots of trouble tring to get the soundcloud links to work without error. I had to leave a space between http:// to get the link to show up :-/

Also, I don't know what thickness string I currently have, but am going to buy some much thicker ones if I can to see if that solves the problem.
 
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ecc83

Well-known member
The simplest way to get a clip on here I find is to turn it into a high res' MP3 320k, then attach it.

I have heard that one in a great many stringed instruments, violins,cellos and I think guitars can have 'wolf note' or notes and, at least in 'clasical' circles such an instrument is considered firewood!

Let us such drastic action is nor required here. You also see wee 'mute' (?) below the bridge on some of the strings of a violin.

Dave.
 
ecc83,

I found some nylon strings and thought i would re-string the guitar, not entirely sure but I may possibly have solved the issue. These strings are extremely dull in comparison, but I really feel like that's going to be a good thing with my bright condenser mics, and if I can high shelf boost at 8k or so without bringing out harshness then it may actually be ideal. . .

I can't say for sure if I have found the answer, I have yet to shove a mic up close but if anything I feel like the strings are too warm now.. I will have a play tomorrow and see if I can finally move on from this.

I've had decent recordings of this same guitar in the past, but I was also using different strings, in a different room, I am sure i used some multiband to duck an offending frequency though but it was so long ago and not sure how "bad" that frequency was.

Anyways, now I feel like I hit the reset button. I will track some more with it tomorrow and see how it goes.

I missed this forum....... I missed mixing..... I missed playing, damn I will never go so long without my hobby ever again! As stressful as it is sometimes.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Just listened to that clip of my son and even for these deaf old ears it seems bright enough and that is a 'gut' strung classical guitar*.

The SM57 is not noted for its HF performance but there is 'stuff' up to 10kHz. If you feel the sound is now a bit dull, and it will be compared to steel strings, try the old dodge of laying some Hardboard or similar on the floor around you. Assuming of course you are on carpet!

*Bet they are nylon? I think real, classical gut strings cost a bloody fortune?

Dave.
 
I have some hardboard sheets tucked away in the wardrobe, I have not had a chance to use them yet, but may give them a try. I have hooks in my ceiling for hanging thick duvets if I want to kill room reflections, I did not record inside them in the sample. Didn't see the point, I knew the recording was going to turn out badly anyway.

I saw some strings online that did cost a lot of money like £30.00 but the set I fit were only £3.50 haha. They seem to have solved the issue regardless though, perhaps I have opened up another can of worms in that the strings are probably going to sound overly boxy/boomy, oh well. Will have a crack at it again tomorrow.

Cheers ecc83.

Edit: i've used an sm57 to record this classical guitar once before in the past.... turned out alright!
In this case I have just been using a pair of sontronics stc10's though. And a room mic for the hell of it (LDC omni stcx3), although I don't think I will bring it up in the mix.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
I listened to your soundcloud sample linked in #228. I can hear that the high E is a little louder/brighter, but not overwhelmingly so. A little narrow EQ would take care of it. I suspect however you are listening is the issue. Some cheaper speakers (or headphones can have resonant frequencies.
 
It was a bad example, if I want to consistently keep hitting the high e string on any particular piece that requires it, then it's unbearable to listen to and very difficult to play because I am constantly trying to hold back when it comes to picking that string.

Did some recordings today, and I am not 100% sure but I think the issue is gone. I definitely don't have a problem with the high estring on my mix today, but have yet to record that ambient song that I also posted above.

When I listened to the piercing note though, it bothered me in all playback systems... Headphones and 2 sets of monitors. I switch between a couple of sets while mixing. I am not taking my room out of the equation quite yet though, it's got bare minimal treatment. just some panels left+right of my mixing position with no cloud, and a permanent hung thick duvet hung off hooks covering almost the entire right hand wall (just becuase I am too lazy to take it down and fold it up) I sometimes record within the duvets, mainly for experimentation I'm trying to learn the room.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Listening to your Soundcloud clip, there are a couple of comments I would make.

1. Its very "ambient", almost hollow sounding. I don't know what mic configuration or room you were using, but the bottom string has a lot of boom to it. I could actually feel it resonating in my keyboard while I was typing this. This is either a room or placement issue (or both).
2. I think the ringing you are hearing on the high string is a combination of the contrast between the boomy bottom, and the bite of the top E string. You also have some room flutter echo that is adding to the sound. This again, is a placement and room treatment issue
3. A different gauge of string on the top might help darken the top end a bit. If nothing else, try a different guitar.

It might help if you give us some clues as to the gear you are using (Guitar... Martins sound different from Taylors, which are different from Gibsons, etc). Mics, interface and some idea of the room size and treatment. You could go with a mic with slightly less presence, but I don't think that's the real problem. There are definite resonances that aren't in the 5k+ region where presence peaks are found.

Listening to your posting of Letters on Soundcloud, I don't hear the same issues that are in your above posting. How was that recorded?
 
Very cool comment, You picked out faults I did not even realise were there. People like you make me realise I have so far to go still.

I honestly can't remember if I left some effects on that sound sample which is adding to the flutter. I think I tried exactly the mic combination and panning choices as in the original post of this topic. (Recording acoustic guitar 101) So is it possible you are hearing the double tracking? That boomy note is not actually noticable on my monitors... *just about to check on subwoofer+monitors***

Ok, I had a listen on different monitors. And yeah, it's a little boomy to my ears but not picking up what you heard. Maybe I do have some noise cancellation going on in my room. I thought it was fairly neautral in here because I swept up with an oscilattor throughout all bass frequencies and did not hear anything pop out. And I am using Sonarworks which is boosting my bottom end up a lot as my M-audio BX5's really lack the bass. The speakers are 500mm or so off the wall, so over the 18"inches, and measured everything parallel from left wall to right wall. etc. . . .

I'll admit I would never leave the track in that state if adding it to a mix, there would be lots of cuts to mimick the kind of footprint of the finished cover of letters I did a few years back. . . The rhythm I posted up with the twangy high end is completely unmixed I think, but this is normally the state i record ready "for" mixing. . . I thought it sounded fairly balanced if you take it out of context. I wish I could have taken a sneak Peak in the DAW to see what exactly the state I left the recording in. I think I did this very quickly just for the sake of showing you an example of the issues. So, I am following exactly the guitar tutorial above with the added exception of a room mic, just because...... I probably delayed it by 20ms because I am playing around with haas effect stuff, was playing with the illusion of the room being 20ft because of the whole 1ms per 1ft theory, maybe that is what you are hearing aswel as flutter? I am struggling to listen critically at the moment because I have been mixing all day, and just about to open another project up and carry on :-/

The real version of letters I recorded that you are talking about from memory is actually recorded with SM57 for the arpeggio guitar (Placed 1ft maybe further away) Double tracked. The Lead is a SDC Sontronics STC10, I ran an LDC STCx3 out of the hallway into the bathroom and blended in a touch of tiled bathroom verb as well. The rest is just lots of EQ lots of automation. With the usual Delays/verbs. I had a midi track going following the lead, I found that the lead actually sounded better when I left it in, so I didn't bother muting it. Just blended. I think the arpeggios had a massive cut at around 500 so I could lower the lead guitar in volume and still clearly hear it.

The Guitar I am using is a Concert Guitar (Aria - AC25CE) Aria AC-25CE Review | Chorder.com
It's not a real cheap guitar or anything. Well, depending where you look I guess I've seen it sell for 400£ to £2000.00 , I paid I think £350, brought from my Ex guitar teacher.

My interface is the 18i20 Scarlett
Room is 3M x 3.4M
Just basic Left+Right Acoustic treatment tiles for early reflections. haven't got a cloud up yet. Whole right hand wall is almost fully treated, indirectly at least - has Heavy thick duvet hanging off ceiling hooks. I keep it there so it's really quick and easy for me to pull it across if I choose to record inside them.

I think this is just about everything I can think of to say. Thanks for listening and giving me your opinion that much is so greatly appreciated.

Cheers

James.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Re the SM57, my son likes the sound it gives on classical guitar but it needs to be very close to get any kind of low noise level. His UMC204HD is pretty good pre amp wise but that is asking a lot!

I ordered a Fethead yesterday. Dad is going to have first play then I shall pack it off to France. Hopefully get some recordings back before the holiday.

Dave.
 
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